On Tuesday Israel announced plans to take full municipal control of a section of East Jerusalem that lies on the other side of its separation wall.Israeli officials in Tel Aviv have been discussing taking full municipal control of the rest of East Jerusalem for several years. Their latest plan will bring portions of the city suburbs that lie east of the separation wall under Israeli jurisdiction, reports Ma’an News.
The decision to expand municipal services into this portion of East Jerusalem does carry some positive potential outcomes. As it currently stands the area under consideration has been cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by the Israeli wall. It is sectioned off from the rest of Jerusalem and receives no government services from Israel. At the same time the neighborhood also receives no administration from the Palestinian Authority. The expansion of municipal control for the Israeli authority in Jerusalem will at the very least bring some administration to the forgotten Palestinian district.
Unfortunately, the presence of some semblance of administration may be the only positive change many residents should expect. The portions of East Jerusalem that have already been formally annexed into Israel receive administration and pay taxes, but see virtually nothing in return in terms of developmental or social services. East Jerusalem contributes nearly half of the tax base for the city of Jerusalem, but receives less than one-tenth of the municipal funding. Schools are overcrowded, trash is infrequently collected, and job opportunities are hard to come by.
More than 90,000 Palestinians live on the eastern side of the separation wall and receive no administration from either the governments of Israel or Palestine.